Because of recent reports of serious, even catastrophic heat-related events with school athletics, the American Academy of Pediatrics has revised its guidelines on heat and school athletes. They're published in this week's edition of the journal Pediatrics.
The recommendations focus on coaches and parents as well as kids. Authors of the statement believe heat-related illness can be prevented if school officials and adults are taught the risks of working out in high temperatures.
"Athletic directors, coaches, teachers and other adults who are overseeing children exercising in the heat should make themselves aware of ways to reduce the risk of heat illness, and they should develop an emergency action plan," said Dr. Cynthia Devore, co-author of the statement and chairperson of the AAP Council on School Health. "This is especially important as we head into high school preseason football."
The authors also recommend a trained staff member be available on site to keep an eye on anyone who might show signs of heat illness. But the new statement, unlike the previous one, does not give precise rules about whether games or practices should be canceled if temperatures reach a certain level. They just suggest it. The statement does however, emphasize the need for coaches to provide adequate rest, at least two hours between major events, during practices and game day.